Heart-Healthy for Valentine’s Day
It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day is on the horizon! It also means that it’s American Heart Month! During this month, we highlight the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to protect yourself from heart disease and all of the contributing factors of heart-related problems. Heart disease is the cause of 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States – and many of the three main risk factors are preventable. That’s why it’s especially important to follow these heart-healthy tips for Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month.
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight through a nutrient-rich diet and an active lifestyle is one of the keys to staying heart-healthy! It’s no secret that being overweight increases one’s risk of developing heart disease. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your weight under control. Limit your consumption of red meat, sugar, and unhealthy fats. Try to get active for at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week. Your heart will thank you for making healthy choices!
2. Ditch the Cigarettes
Smoking not only damages your lungs but negatively affects your heart too. In fact, research has shown that cigarette smoke is one of the most preventable causes of heart disease. From triggering irregular heart rhythm to raising blood pressure, smoking and secondhand smoke can promote the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, which could lead to stroke, heart attack, or death. For resources to quit smoking, contact your doctor and create a plan to ditch this unhealthy habit.
3. Reduce Stress
Stress is a major risk factor for heart disease, especially for women. Be mindful of your stress and take steps to reduce unnecessary tension through stress reduction techniques and coping strategies. Make time to relax every day and practice self-care. Set realistic goals and expectations. Sleep! There are so many ways to reduce stress in your life and your risk of heart disease.
4. Know Your Levels
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are also major risk factors for heart disease. That’s why it’s crucial to know your levels. Both cholesterol and blood pressure can cause blockages and blood clots, which keep blood from flowing through your coronary arteries. From there, heart attack and stroke are possible among a multitude of other cardiovascular diseases. In order to maintain normal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, find a healthy balance in your lifestyle through diet and exercise.
5. See Your Doctor
The best way to remain heart-healthy now and always is to visit your doctor regularly. Besides being able to check your levels and accurately asses your risk for heart disease, your primary healthcare provider can provide you with strategies to check your heart and transform your lifestyle into a more heart-healthy one! Make appointments with your doctor regularly, and don’t hesitate to make an emergency call if you find yourself exhibiting the symptoms of heart disease including:
- Chest pain, tightness, pressure or discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in your legs or arms
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen, or back
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
- Irregularly rapid or irregularly slow heartbeat
- Swelling in the extremities
Follow these tips to remain heart-healthy for Valentine’s Day! And for reliable, expert medical transportation, contact Apex Ambulance!